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My Dad Shaped my Destiny - Vaijayanti Savant Tonpe

"Monster, devil, ogre, demon, Hari Sadu! Over the years,as a professional adult the accolades keep accumulating.Till they become an integral part. You not only begin identifying with them, you wear them like a badge of honour. Then somebody pierces the armour. "Hey! Get out the real you... Where's that 100 watt smile that spread nothing but sunshine?"

You are taken aback.

As a mother you know what brings an instant and instinctive smile to your heart.

Your kid!

And at once you know what the person is talking about. Its not you, the Hari Sadu, it's your Dad's Baby darling! It's the invisible little person inside you that your parents put inside you. That little being who even on the worst of days and ugliest of moods can say the right words to the person who needs them.Do a little deed of goodness when the willingness to to do so does not seem to be there. Be the encourager and inspirer in the face of apparent hopelessness. It's not want to be grouchy and mean and abrupt and angry.

But, my Daddy, he just put a tiny little angel inside me...and trouble is for almost half a century he kept seeing the angel.

It was so easy for the little thing to come tumbling out, if I only thought of him. Everything to please Daddy!

The bitterest of pills in the worst illness could be chewed up without water, like it was chocolate fudge. Poems could be composed and recited like they were overflowing molten lava. The same mistakes in the same sums could be made effortlessly and endlessly so that he could throw up his hands in despair and declare each time, "You'll never be a mathematician. Thank God! you can WRITE!"

How WRITE he was!

Everything I do I do it for you Daddy. But how can I put in mere words what you did for me?

You made me who I am. Love and honour... pride in country and fellow beings... humility in high end ability...and giving unstintingly, selflessly, wholly, purely... my very essence is of your making.

Vaijayanthi Sawant Tonpe is an award winning writer and editor of childrens books from India. She has worked for leading publishers of childrens books like CBT, Madhuban and Scholastic India. Between 1978-1997, she was the Editor of Childrens World, Indias oldest English magazine for children.

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